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Sales plunge for the biggest hepatitis C drugs

Eric Risberg / AP

Gilead Sciences reported yesterday that its earnings fell 33% in 4Q of 2016 compared to the year before, per the Washington Examiner, and the company expects sales to fall another 22% in 2017. This sharp plunge in sales is largely a result of the company's two leading hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, which have dropped 65% and 51% respectively.

The drugs have received a lot of flak, both by the public and Congress, for their high prices. Sovaldi cost approx. $84k for a full 12-week regiment when it first came to market, and Harvoni cost nearly $100k. Now competing drugs, like the lower-priced Epclusa, are becoming more powerful rivals.

Why this isn't surprising: A 2015 report from Senators Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley found that Gilead had ignored concerns about cost and accessibility when setting the prices. ""Gilead knew these prices would put treatment out of the reach of millions and cause extraordinary problems for Medicare and Medicaid, but still the company went ahead," said Wyden.